Pesto Gnocchi is pan fried with asparagus, and then tossed with an easy basil pesto sauce. This dish is bursting with fresh flavor and is surprisingly quick + easy to make!

This is a meal dressed to impress with relatively little effort. The total hands-on prep time you are looking at is less than 20 minutes!

It’s no secret we’re obsessed with gnocchi! If you haven’t tried it before you are missing out. In Italian cooking, gnocchi are essentially small dumplings usually made from potatoes and flour. Homemade sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter sauce is one of my favorite meals, but it’s also somewhat time consuming to make.

So, today we’re using store-bought gnocchi (still delicious) and pairing it with asparagus and a tasty basil pesto in a simple vegetarian meal. Let’s get started!

Fun fact: Here’s how to pronounce gnocchi: nyawk-kee

Ingredients for this gnocchi recipe:

This simple gnocchi with pesto is filled with fresh flavors thanks to the homemade basil pesto, and has the perfect amount of creaminess. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • For the pesto. This pesto is beyond incredible and can be used in lots of different recipes too. It’s made with toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese and olive oil. It’s simple, yet super tasty!
  • Gnocchi. Look for shelf-stable potato gnocchi in the pasta aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores. My go-to brand is Trader Joe’s, which produces a pillowy, plump gnocchi. Here is a list of the top sellers on Amazon and a list of taste tester’s favorites
  • Asparagus. I love asparagus in this dish, but you could use pretty much any favorite vegetable.  Great options are peas, small broccoli florets, sliced zucchini or quartered Brussels sprouts.
Ingredients for pesto gnocchi divided into small bowls.

How to make this recipe:

Follow just a few simple steps and you’re well on your way to a delicious dinner!

Scroll down to the recipe card for the printable recipe.

  1. Prep. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Keep the water at a boil until you’re ready to cook the gnocchi. 
  2. Make the pesto sauce. Add the pine nuts, garlic, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are broken up – about 10 times. Next, add the basil and parmesan and pulse until the basil is broken into small pieces – about 10 pulses. With the food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in ⅓ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Sauté asparagus. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes, or just until crisp tender. 
  4. Cook the gnocchi. While the asparagus sautés, cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes less than the time on the package. My gnocchi usually takes 6 minutes to boil, so I cooked them for 4 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the gnocchi cooking liquid and then drain the gnocchi. 
  5. Combine all ingredients. Add the gnocchi to the skillet with the asparagus. Then, add the pesto and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute, just until the pesto sauce thickens and evenly coats the gnocchi. If the sauce is too dry, add the remaining ¼ cup of reserved cooking water. 
  6. Serve. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, at room temperature, or place in the fridge to chill. This gnocchi is delicious at room temperature, warm, or cold! Top with flakey sea salt, toasted pine nuts, and fresh basil, if desired.
Gnocchi made with asparagus and a pesto sauce.

Recipe variations:

  • To make vegetarian. This recipe is naturally vegetarian. 
  • To make vegan. When making the homemade pesto, use a vegan parmesan cheese. Violife makes a great option, or try my recipe for vegan parmesan cheese.
  • To make gluten free. Use fresh or frozen cauliflower gnocchi, such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Food’s brand. Alternatively, look for shelf-stable gluten-free gnocchi.

Tips:

  • Feel free to substitute some or all of the basil for parsley to make a parsley pesto.
  • You can use walnuts, cashews, almonds or pecans in place of the pine nuts.
  • Take the pesto a step further and toast your pine nuts before making the pesto. It adds so much extra flavor!
  • Add in some protein! Grilled shrimp, chicken, salmon or steak would be amazing with this gnocchi.

Storage + reheating:

Store any leftover pesto gnocchi in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To enjoy this warm, simply reheat in intervals in the microwave and feel free to freshen it up with more liquid, pine nuts and fresh basil.

Gnocchi with pesto served in a shallow bowl.

More Italian recipes to try:

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

Print

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Description

Pesto Gnocchi is pan fried with asparagus, and then tossed with an easy basil pesto sauce. This dish is bursting with fresh flavor and is surprisingly quick + easy to make!



  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Keep the water at a boil until you’re ready to cook the gnocchi. 
  2. Add the pine nuts, garlic, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are broken up – about 10 times. Next, add the basil and parmesan and pulse until the basil is broken into small pieces – about 10 pulses. 
  3. With the food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in ⅓ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes, or just until crisp tender. 
  5. While the asparagus sautés, cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes less than the time on the package. My gnocchi usually takes 6 minutes to boil, so I cooked them for 4 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the gnocchi cooking liquid and then drain the gnocchi. 
  6. Add the gnocchi to the skillet with the asparagus. Then, add the pesto and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute, just until the pesto sauce thickens and evenly coats the gnocchi. If the sauce is too dry, add the remaining ¼ cup of reserved cooking water. 
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, at room temperature, or place in the fridge to chill. This gnocchi is delicious at room temperature, warm, or cold! Top with flakey sea salt, toasted pine nuts, and fresh basil, if desired.

Notes

  • I’m using dried gnocchi but you could use fresh or frozen! Just adjust the cooking time accordingly. 
  • I love asparagus but you could use pretty much any vegetable you like– peas, small broccoli florets, etc.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian, American

Keywords: gnocchi with pesto, pesto gnocchi recipe